Coronavirus in Charlotte: Vaccine eligibility expands, key metrics worsen

Coronavirus in Charlotte: Vaccine eligibility expands, key metrics worsen
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This story was last updated at 4:48 p.m. on Friday, April 9. 


Latest: After consistently trending downwards for weeks, COVID-19 metrics are rising, just as vaccine eligibility opens up to all adults 16 and older.

Why it matters: This thing isn’t over yet. The latest county report shows 6.8% of positive cases in Mecklenburg. That’s up from 4.6% a month ago.

  • Experts warn that a fourth wave of COVID could be on the way if these trends persist. [Go deeper]

Yes, but: Vaccines are becoming more readily available, and as of April 7, everyone 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine. (Note: 16 and 17 year olds are only approved for Pfizer.)

While demand still exceeds supply in many parts of the state, the governor and other officials are hopeful that will change soon.

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  • “Pretty soon we’re going to be pushing, encouraging people to get it because we do know at some point we will hit that peak of supply exceeding demand,” Gov. Cooper said during an April 6 briefing.

By the numbers:

North Carolina is one of only nine states where the number of new reported COVID cases decreased over the last week. Here’s where the data stands locally:

  • 104,279. Known cases in Mecklenburg County.
  • 929,406. Known cases in North Carolina.
  • 977. Number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in North Carolina. In Mecklenburg County an average of 128 COVID patients were hospitalized at an acute care facility over the last week, representing an increase over the past two weeks.
  • 4.6%. Percentage of positive cases in the state. In Mecklenburg, the percentage of positive cases is 6.8%.
  • 12,248. Deaths associated with coronavirus in N.C., including 922 in the county. All but 25 deaths in Mecklenburg were among adults with underlying chronic illnesses. Nearly 40% were connected to long-term care facility outbreaks.

Restrictions:

Gov. Cooper last eased restrictions on March 26. Here’s an overview:

  • Museums, aquariums, retail businesses, salons and barbershops can open 100% indoors and outdoors.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, pools and other recreation establishments can open up to 75% indoors and up to 100% outdoors.
  • Bars, conference centers, reception venues, sports arenas and other venues for live performances can open up to 50% indoors and outdoors.
  • Late-night alcohol sales will no longer be limited.
  • The gathering limit increases to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
  • Cocktails-to go are allowed until at least April 30.

Where things stand:

  • Normal school is (almost) back. Aside from students in full remote academy, all K-12 CMS students will learn in person for four days a week starting on April 12. By May 10 all K-12 will be on a five-day schedule. [Go deeper]
  • Vaccine hunters have played a big role in getting people vaccinated. And while vaccine availability is increasing, finding an open appointment can still be tough. Here are vaccine appointment tips and frequently asked questions answered.
  • Travel is picking up again. American Airlines says its Charlotte hub has been faster to recover than other markets. As a result, the airline has added flights from Charlotte to popular vacation destinations. [Go deeper]
  • The statewide mask mandate is still in effect. It’s an important COVID safety measure whether you’re vaccinated or not.
  • Remember these preventative steps: Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, and stay home if you feel sick. More from the CDC here.

    For more Agenda coverage on the coronavirus, click here. Questions or news tip? Email charlotte@axios.com.


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